Episode 39 - How to Turn Your Educational Disadvantage to Your Advantage with Mark Herschberg

Contenders Wanted

Mar 28 2022 • 52 mins

Show Notes:
Can you think of an example of someone or something in a perceived disadvantage that then turns it into their advantage?  My mind things of Ben Affleck's character in the movie, the Accountant. Or the engineers from Apollo 11 using just what was in a box to fix the spaceship. Or Edmond Dantes from the Count of Monte Cristo. Beyond the pop culture references, some might even say that their higher education left them at a bit of a disadvantage when they entered the work force.  You may have quickly realized once you entered the workforce that you were faced with a whole new set of skills to develop. Things like networking, communication, leadership, negotiations, sales, management, and on and on and on.  But there’s still value in higher education. So how do we make sure we get the most out of it and then turn these missing skills from a disadvantage into our advantage once we’re out in the workforce? Well our guest today attended elite level higher education, and it didn’t take long for him once he started his professional career to feel like he had missed some critically important skills in that education process. This then in turn led him on a path to find, develop, and master these missing skills and then later teach them to others so they can supercharge their professional careers.

Our guest today is Mark Herschberg. From tracking criminals and terrorists on the dark web to creating marketplaces and new authentication systems, Mark has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and Fortune 500s and in academia. He helped to start the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, dubbed MIT’s “career success accelerator,” where he teaches annually. At MIT, he received a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in electrical engineering & computer science, and a M.Eng. in electrical engineering & computer science, focusing on cryptography. At Harvard Business School, Mark helped create a platform used to teach finance at prominent business schools. He also works with many non-profits, including Techie Youth and Plant A Million Corals. He was one of the top-ranked ballroom dancers in the country and now lives in New York City, where he is known for his social gatherings, including his annual Halloween party, as well as his diverse cufflink collection. On the show today we discuss the following:

  • Who is Mark and what does he do (5:07)
  • Mark's perspective on the value of higher education (9:04)
  • How did his formal education not prepare him for his career (13:20)
  • How Mark developed these missing skills in himself (16:11)
  • Specific things you can do now to develop these skills (18:51)
  • Was Mark's higher education worth it? (31:19)
  • Mark's perspective of our current higher education system (38:16)
  • What does it mean to Mark to be a Contender (46:58)

How to learn more about Mark:

Additional Books, Individuals, or Items Discuss in the show:

  • The Big Bank Theory TV Show
  • Richard Feynman

Contact the Host: rob@contenderswanted.com

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